NIGERIA: Elumelu Harps on New Approach to Development

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The Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu has called on governments and policy makers in Africa to consider new approach to the development of the continent.

Elumelu said this in a speech presented at the recently concluded African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Annual Board of Governors meeting held in Marrakech, Morocco. According to the former Chief Executive Officer of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), charity and aid had failed Africa and its leading entrepreneurs are now driving the continent’s developmental agenda.

Elumelu challenged African leaders to adopt an approach that involves the private sector and would also be capable of stimulating sustainable development.  He termed such a system as ‘Africapitalism.’

This, according to him, is an economic philosophy where the private sector can solve Africa’s most pressing challenges through long term investments that create economic prosperity and social wealth.

Elumelu further spoke on the failure of traditional development interventions that previously characterised development in the continent. He also urged the private sector to take on the responsibility of development.

The former bank chief executive also made a compelling case for ‘Africapitalism’ by telling the story of how a $5 million investment in UBA, 17 years ago, spawned a pan-African financial institution that has created 25,000 jobs, generated wealth in communities all across Africa, expanded finance for trade, created stronger financial infrastructure for investment and economic growth, paid taxes to national and local governments to support public services, and given millions of customers control over their financial lives.

Elumelu mentioned other strategic visionaries who were also playing a significant role in driving the continent’s development through their business investments: Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga in Nigeria, Lucien Ebata in the Democratic Republic Congo, Reginald Mengi in Tanzania, Patrice Motsepe in South Africa, Kofi Amoabeng in Ghana.

“These are entrepreneurs who are creating tens of thousands of jobs, empowering individuals, families and entire communities,” he added.
“Economic prosperity is the most valuable and lasting gift we can give to a continent with challenges. We need to support solutions that are catalytic and sustainable. That should be the ultimate goal of our development mission,” he added.

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